Happy Commonwealth Day, everyone! Not as many links as last week, so you could probably get through most of these and still do something productive at work this morning. Compared to last week's 84%, our fan confidence level has dropped a percentage point to 83% so be sure to vote this week. If you aren't aware already, Bluebird Banter is looking for a new slogan, so vote and suggest away!
The Jays and Braves were scheduled for two split-squad home-and-home games on Sunday, but only one (in Dunedin) was completed because the other (at ESPN Wide World of Sports) was rained out. For the completed game, here's Tom's quick recap, a short one from the National Post, one from the Globe and Mail, and one from BlueJays.com. TSN.com has the video highlights, and Sportsnet 590 the Fan has the audio along with Mike Wilner's recap post. For the rained-out game, Jeff Mathis took advantage of the rain-soaked baseballs down in Kissimmee to hit one out against the Braves' Tommy Hanson, who struggled to grip the ball.
Blue Jays Related
Today's pitching lineup against Baltimore: Morrow (3 innings), McGuire (2 innings), Hutchison (2 innings), Janssen, Santos, Cordero according to Gregor Chisholm.
Jeff Blair writes about this spring's Snider vs. Thames battle in left field in the Globe and Mail. From MLB.com, here are the Grapefruit stats for Snider and Thames--they're close. Real close:
- Snider: 6 G, 17 AB, 5 H, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, .294/.333/.882
- Thames: 7 G, 17 AB, 5 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, .294/.368/.529
A quote from Richard Griffin's baseball blog: When a reporter asked John Farrell whether Lawrie "had a chance," he simply replied, "A chance for what? Prime Minister?" Of course, the answer is no, because he doesn't speak French (at least I don't think he does). Also, Edwin Encarnacion saw his live game action in left field. I don't know how often Jays fan will see him out there outside of NL parks.
Ian from the Blue Jay Hunter writes about the enigma that is Edwin Encarnacion.
"The Toronto Blue Jays collected other teams' outcasts, and Sergio Santos fits the bill" Buster Olney has an Insider-only article on how Sergio Santos fits with the Jays, who are a team of talented misfits led by a nerd. I'd tell you what else was in that article but Tom didn't get me a subscription for Christmas.
J.P. Arencibia has been busy this spring working on his swing, trying to take it back to what made him succeed in the minors. The link also includes a video from 2011 where J.P. Arencibia talks about his Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles boxer-briefs, which he still wears because it makes him feel powerful.
SBNation's own Wendy Thurm writes about how Colby Rasmus has quite a bit to prove this season, and I hope he does so emphatically.
In a long-distance phone interview with the Toronto Star (in which he made sure that he was not paying for any air time), former Blue Jays slugger Jose Canseco offers to come back to Toronto and play for free. His fall is just a tremendously sad tale of self-destruction, catalyzed by drug use. Reading through his tweets and interviews, it seems that he just wants to play a game that he probably loves more than anything in the world (he was begging for Billy Beane's email on Twitter in the winter), but he manages to find ways to stop himself. Of course, he's not making any fans over at MLBPA by that offer...
If it is worth anything (no it's not), SI.com's Fantasy Baseball Preview puts Eric Thames as the starting LFer, batting 2nd in the lineup. They also think that Bautista will be a bust in 2012. Right.
More links after the jump.
Around the League
Some guy named Bob Greene thanks there are too many darned teams in baseball. He can't even name them all.
David Schoenfield of ESPN.com goes through the pitchers who were once labeled as "the last" 300-game winner, including the latest last one, Randy Johnson. Will Roy Halladay get to 300 wins? Schoenfield thinks so, and so do I. I have a feeling that he will be in a Blue Jays uniform when he wins #300.
Retired National League umpire Harry Wendelstedt, father of current umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, died on Friday.
Grant Brisbee exposes Mets RHP Frank Francisco's phobia of pickoffs. In 50 IP last year, 11 runners stole second base while he was on the mound (93%).
The home of the Braves was named as "the most miserable sports city" by Forbes, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution couldn't disagree.
Cuban video star Yoenis Cepedes hit a long one in his A's debut while his fellow defector Gerardo Concepcion signs a five-year deal worth $6 million with Theo Epstein's Chicago Cubs.
Miami Marlins RF Giancarlo (f.k.a. Mike) Stanton was taken for X-rays (which came back negative) after a hit-by-pitch to his wrist. On the "good news" side of the injury front, Pittsburgh Pirates RHP A.J. Burnett is back on the field again, playing catch. Yes, there were some jokes here at his expense, but it's good to hear that the surgery went well and that his vision is OK. In another nice recovery-from-injury story, Juan Nicasio (who fractured his C-1 vertebrae last August after being hit in the head by an Ian Desmond line drive), pitched in his first live-game in the Cactus League on Friday.
Connie Mack looking dapper, Babe Ruth in an integrated Spring Training stadium, a shirtlest Leo Durocher (hey ladies), Willie McCovey's sweet ride and more in SI.com's gallery of classic Spring Training pictures.
Ontario's Glenn Howard won over Alberta's Kevin Koe with a 7-6 score at the Brier Cup Finals, which was witnessed by quite a few Bluebird Banterers last night (300+ comments!). The game seemed much more one-sided than the score indicates, with Howard dominating the firsf few ends and almost nothing going right for Koe.
The Toronto Raptors had a chance to trade for Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki in exchange for Vince Carter and Antonio Davis back in 2001 or 2002. In 2004, then-GM Glen Grunwald had another chance to swap Carter for Nash, but MLSE vetoed the move.
Swiss citizens rejects a referendum on whether workers should be guaranteed six weeks' paid holiday every year. Yea--six weeks.